There are a number of economic concerns with regard to sports in Pakistan, almost most issues have remained unresolved since long. The most important thing is the correlation between the level of economic development and sporting performance in major events such as the Olympics. A banner was posted on a Mexico stadium during the 1986 football World Cup which said, we don’t want goals, we want beans. This shows the issues developing countries like Pakistan is facing in the sports sector. Sports is one specific sector which badly affects when economic condition of a country deteriorates. Sporting events and sports do not make people forget underdevelopment, poverty and illiteracy.
Sports associations in Pakistan are highly dependent on the foreign aid and grants. When government faces pressure on their finances, they make their priorities and thus remove the financial support to those sectors, which they think are not on their priority list. Unfortunately, sports sector always come at the last in the priority list thus it doesn’t get the enough financial support from the government. It is infact other way around, developments and improvements in the sports sector can attract a lot of investment both locally and internationally. Pakistan has improved its security situation to a great extent. Security concerns have been addressed long time back, yet Pakistan is struggling to get an international event mainly because of weak foreign policy.
Physical inactivity is one of the biggest challenges of Pakistan’s society. Sport and physical activities are usually linked solely to the sport at schools and college level activities. It undermines the contribution of sports in the society and its impact on the economy at a professional level. For example, sport is closely linked to education, tourism, health and entertainment. Each of the above has made up a major role in the national economy.
According to a Gilani Research Foundation Survey carried out by Gallup & Gilani Pakistan, 37 percent Pakistanis say they generally do not do any exercise; only 4 percent claim they exercise daily. Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for mortality globally and is responsible for 6 percent of deaths worldwide. More than 1.4 billion adults are putting themselves at heightened risk of deadly diseases by not getting enough exercise, doctors are warning, with global activity levels virtually unchanged in nearly two decades. With richer nations enjoying an increasingly comfortable, sedentary lifestyle, a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) said a third of women and a quarter of men worldwide are in the firing line for killer conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer unless they up their physical activity. According to an international study; insufficient physical activity is a leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases, and has a negative effect on mental health and quality of life. As per WHO, each adult do at least 150 minutes “moderate-intensity” exercise — such as brisk walking, swimming or gentle cycling – each week, or 75 minutes “vigorous-intensity” activity – such as running or team sports.
As a matter of fact, sports economics is a relatively a new field of the economics. The economic impact of sports can be studied in two main ways: through local economic impact and through the impact of mega-events. Over the past few years, it is an established fact that sports sector not only support sports industry but also supports the hospitality, entertainment, food, clothing, paper and logistic sectors. All these sectors are direct beneficiaries of any sport event getting public attraction. As a result, government will be able to generate direct and indirect tax revenues. Sports may be used also as a tool for city development as well. Sport can also be a tool to develop regions, cities or rural areas. Synergies can be identified between sport and tourism and sport can stimulate the upgrading of collective infrastructure (e.g. transport networks) and the emergence of new mechanisms for their financing (e.g. public-private partnerships).
More than ten million people tuned in to watch PSL (Pakistan Super League) in 2019, this amazing figure is one of the many statistics that demonstrate how sports captivate our lives. Across the world, athletic competition activates a collective spirit that then enhances community participation among children and adults. Attracting youth participation and development through a powerful tool such as ‘sports’ should be a paramount investment to be made in the next few years in Pakistan. Sports organizations can have many sources of income, including club fees and ticket sales, advertising and sponsorship, TV and media rights, re-distribution of income within the sport federations, merchandising, public support etc. Public financial support is often vital for sport but must be provided within the limits imposed by law. PSL is one example which other sporting games can follow.
The implementation of sports programs can be easy and cheap, and, if developed well, can become a low cost, high social benefit venture. In order to achieve this, investment should not only be focused on building new infrastructure. The amount of money and effort dispensed should also be motivated by creating effective programs that give priority to developmental objectives and are designed to be inclusive. These would enable sports to be as a means for educating youth. Moreover, sports for development programs can become a powerful tool for development and learning. They promote participation, inclusion, human values, acceptance of rules, discipline, health promotion, non-violence, tolerance, gender equality, teamwork, among others. All of the above mentioned problems are visible in Pakistan’s society. Further, sports are an effective instrument that can help improve the quality and development of children and families. This cannot be achieved in short term but definitely can be achieved in long term. It doesn’t necessarily mean an individual standing on the podium receiving a medal, but an entire generation of good citizens, prepared with the necessary competencies to face their country’s present and future challenges.
In Pakistan when we talk about sports sector, we usually talk about manufacturing of sports good. It is also important to develop the players as well. It doesn’t require billions of dollars to groom a player. Unfortunately, when a player in Pakistan gets fame and money, he gets into some weird activities both morally and financially and consequently Pakistan ends up in more isolation. Personality grooming is also an important factor which needs special attention. Most of the times, players in the national teams are not selected on merit thus promotes a culture of nepotism, friendship and grouping. We have seen the consequences in cricket and hockey in recent years. The government is the main sponsors and patron of sporting activities. There is no harm in providing aids and grants to the sports organization and also establish some key performance parameters. Pakistan once produced world class players and has the capacity to produce good players again.